Last night my husband was telling his dad about the job and about what it all would entail, and this began a conversation that left me in tears over the goodness of God in the life of my father-in-law.
Through the years I have heard tidbits of pieces of his childhood and stories of some of his exploits before becoming a Christian, and every time I am struck by the amazing grace that has brought my father-in-law to where he is today. This night was no exemption, and even more so in light of the ministry that my husband may have the opportunity to be a part of.
When my father-in-law was 14 years old, he left his home. He had had enough. His stepmother wasn't a woman fit to raise children, and treated my dad-in-law and his brothers very badly. After hearing just a few of the stories, I don't blame him.
At one point she burned all the boys' toys and things. She slapped my father-in-law upside the head, without any warning, for having, what she thought, too much ketchup on his plate for his french fries. She locked the three boys in their bedroom for two days straight without food or water because they would not confess to something that none of them did.
And at 14 he had enough. After turning himself into the police, his dad came to the station and put him on a bus to Grand Junction, Colorado to be with his mom, my husband's grandmother.
After hearing these things, I was able to hold it together until we were out of the house, and then the tears came (duh, of course... as they always do. geesh.) I shared with my husband that I am always in awe of the mighty work of grace that God has done in the life of his dad... and his two brothers, for that fact. One of Casey's uncles is a pastor and the other is a godly man who serves in his church and loves the Lord.
Some people get caught up in "generational curses" or lose heart when it comes to looking at their family's history.
I will never doubt the power of the gospel to enter into a family tree and change everything. If there is anyone I know who has many excuses to be completely and totally messed up, it would be my dad-in-law. He got a crazy mixed bag of exposure to different religions, experienced being abandoned by one parent, abused by a step-parent, and shuffled from one household to another. It is a wonder to see who he is now, and he will be the first to tell you that it is only by God's grace through the power of the gospel to change his heart and mind and to make him a new creation in Christ Jesus. All the pain, all the issues and hurt, all the patterns of dysfunction were shattered the second the Holy Spirit entered the heart of my father-in-law. Hallelujah!
I'm proud that my children have this as part of their heritage. I am proud that I have married into a family that gives me a dad like this. I'm very glad that, though I've never really had a dad, that now I have such a sweet blessing in my father-in-law.
And the fruit of the gospel has resulted in a new generation of people who claim the name of Jesus and are raising children to honor and obey the Word. From the three boys who experienced so much pain have come 3 successful marriages, 10 children, and 18 grandchildren (with another on the way this year).
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17